An award in numbers


Are you a keen mathematician, or just interested in data? Boy, do we have the page for you right here. Welcome to the stats page! Here, we break down SSBA past to analyse various mathematical factors of our word-led award. Let’s get started.

Since we started the award in 2004, students and staff across the region have collectively read

1,016,768,600 words

Let me say that again.

1,016,768,600 words

How about this way?

One billion, sixteen million, seven hundred and sixty-eight thousand, six hundred words


That is more than fifteen times the population of the United Kingdom. One person reading non-stop would need nearly six-and-a-half years to read that much, and that’s without any breaks for sleeping or eating. If you gathered up 1,016,768,600 ants, they would weigh as much as an elephant. I could come up with more facts about how big this number is, but I think we had better move on.

The shortest book we read was The Lurkers by Charles Butler, clocking in at 26,936 words. This book was on the shortlist for 2007, and is only 2,000 words shorter than A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

The longest book we read was Ghost of a Chance by Rhiannon Lassiter, with a whopping 107,484 words. That’s more than four times the length of The Lurkers, and it came four years later in our 2011 shortlist. Whew!

We have had sixty shortlisted authors, of whom 36 are women and 24 are men.

Of our winners, 8 are women and 4 are men.

The average age of the main characters of the books we’ve read is 15 and a half. The oldest character was in Montmorency on the Rocks (we guess about 30), and the youngest was Olivia Brown in Close Your Pretty Eyes, who was 11.

Forty-nine out of the sixty shortlisted books are set in the UK. Next popular is Germany, with two of the books. The others are set in Australia, Cuba, India, Jamaica, France, Palestine, USA, Kenya, and there’s even one that’s set on a boat!

The most popular genre for shortlisted books is thriller, with mystery and fantasy books coming in a close second. We also have a fair number of horror, historical, dystopian and contemporary books, but only one comedy!